Apple Faces Legal Dilemma With Refusal to Provide iPhone Backdoor
NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple's refusal to compromise iOS security to aid a terrorism investigation will likely lead to a fierce and likely precedent-setting legal battle.Apple CEO Tim Cook has launched a high-profile battle against the U.S. Government opposing an order to effectively bypass iOS security so that the FBI can get to the contents of an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the killing of 14 county workers Dec. 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif. Unfortunately, the claims and counter-claims surrounding the order are shaping up as an all-or-nothing battle in which the government seems to be asking for the keys to Apple's kingdom, while Apple is refusing to give an inch, a position that seems certain to result in a protracted legal battle. In reality, this is an extraordinary situation in which there should be some middle ground that provides a way to allow the FBI to do its job and fight terrorism, while not giving out a key that would submit every smartphone to random plundering by curious bureaucrats. The FBI has a legitimate need for the data and Apple should work with the government to find a way to make this work. The iPhone in question was used by Syed Farook, but was actually owned by San Bernardino County, Calif., for whom Farook worked. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were killed in a shootout with police Dec. 2, 2015 after they conducted a terrorist attack on a county government office that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym actually ordered Apple to provide reasonable technical assistance to the FBI in its efforts to get past the 10-try limit that Apple's iOS places on attempts to access devices running iOS 8 and above. Apple first put the limit in place following a series of high-profile breaches of celebrity accounts that resulted in private information being exposed.